The core of the heat wave that has broiled much of the eastern two thirds of nation this week concentrates on the East Coast today, with the most extreme levels focused on the mid-Atlantic. The combination of near-record heat and oppressive humidity will produce heat index values of 115-120 from Richmond to Philadelphia. Washington D.C.’s heat index at 11 a.m. was 113 (update: 119 at 2 p.m.). NOAA reports 132 million people in 29 states and Washington, D.C. are under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings today.
GALLERY: Click the image above to view images of hot weather from around the world. See also gallery showing ways to keep cool and have fun at the same time.
On Thursday, extreme heat and humidity stretched from the Texas/Mexico border to Boston. Weather Underground reported heat indices passed 110 in at least 50 cities. Washington, D.C.’s heat index reached 112, its highest in more than 10 years.
168 record highs were tied or set along with 317 record high low temperatures. St. Louis (103), Chicago (99), Indianapolis (100), Detroit (100), Newark (103), Syracuse (101) and Burlington (97) all set record highs. Emira, New York which climbed to 104, had its hottest day since September 4, 1953.
The giant area of high pressure - or heat dome - which spawled across such a large part of nation Thursday is getting a south and eastward push by the jet stream today. Interior New England and portions of the upper Midwest get relief, but not the central U.S. and eastern seaboard.
Many cities along the East Coast will soar past 100 today. Weather Underground’s Angela Fritz listed the following cities forecast to come within five degrees of their all-time record highs today:
Boston, Mass.—100°F (forecast) 104°F (record, 1911)
Newark, N.J.—102°F (forecast) 105°F (record, 1966)
Washington D.C.—103°F (forecast) 106°F (record, 1930)
Dulles Airport, Va.—103°F (forecast) 104°F (record, 1988)
Central Park, N.Y.—102°F (forecast) 106°F (record, 1936)
Providence, R.I.—100°F (forecast) 104°F (record, 1975)
The Weather Channel has a nice interactive map highlighting locations forecast to near or pass record highs - focused on the I-95 corridor from Richmond to Boston. Already today, New York’s JFK Airport and Newark have set records for the date, hitting 100 and 102, respectively according to reports.
In addition to stifling heat and humidity in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, bad air quality is forecast. Code red levels - unhealthy for general population - cover the Washington, D.C./Baltimore region, whereas code orange levels - unhealthy for sensitive groups - stretch from central North Carolina to southern New England.